Disclaimer: I received this review unit for free from Hidizs themselves. Thank you very much.
Disclaimer 2: My opinion is that amps do make some very slight differences in the tonality but it is very minor and if you want to change the tonality of the transducer it is better to change the transducer itself or to change the tips/foams/pads (iem, earbud, headphones). While the DAC does NOT make any difference at all.
Price: 140 usd
|Test Conditions||@32Ω Load||@32Ω Load|
|Maximum Output Power||125mW+125mW||210mW+210mW|
|Frequency Response||20Hz-80kHz (±0.6dB)||20Hz-80kHz (±0.6dB)|
|Total harmonic distortion + Noise (THD+N)||0.0006%||0.0004%|
USB-C to USB-A cable
USB-C to USB-A adapter
USB-C to USB-C OTG cable
(Size comparison with Apple Airpods 2019 charging case)
Build: Aluminum body, has 3.5mm (SE) and 4.4mm (Balanced) outputs, 3-gain levels, volume up/down buttons, power switch, USB-C charging port and USB-C input. Edges are a little bit sharp but otherwise feel well built and with a very small and easy to handle size.
Battery: stress tested by using a stopwatch while I was listening to it and gaming on my phone to make it warmer. Managed to reach 8 hours and 20 minutes (I was mainly using balanced transducers during this test), a lot longer than the 6 hours Hidizs has on their specs. Charge time took 2 hours and 20 minutes (with a low power charger).
When the battery is low on power, the LED light at the right side (under the power switch) will constantly glow red. But otherwise, no indication to show the current battery status.
Home use: As a DAC/amp connected to my LG G7, it was essentially a flawless experience. No noise, no issues and just plug and play.
Portable use: But as a portable DAC/amp connected to my LG G7 there are some occasional noises when you are inside supermarkets and other stores. But other than that, it is yet again not really a problem to use it.
One thing to note though, is that the included magnetic sticker is pretty much useless. Which means that you need some other way to more securely attach the DH80S to your phone. I did that by using Velcro tape.
Although if you are using it while on a bike and the stack is in your pocket, the connection does sometime cut off because of the fast movements. The volume buttons made it very easy to adjust the volume even when it is in the pocket (no need to put your hands inside the pocket, easy to click on them on the outside for the extra lazy ones out there like me lol). The gain switch is a bit hard to use while it is in the pocket and you need to actually put your hands into the pocket to use them.
No track control besides volume up/down.
Setup: LG G7 - > UAPP -> Hidizs DH80S
Tin Hifi P1 (high-gain volume around 45%, jvc Spiral dot++, cable A9 4.4mm): Nope, forget about it. While volume wise it isn’t a problem, the quality is lacking. Bass sounds like it is lacking a lot of texture and pretty much non-existent in quantity. While soundstage is quite narrow and even the upper-treble doesn’t sound as airy as on more powerful sources. (EQ is out of the question even more.) Not recommended for planars
Audiosense T800 (medium-gain, volume around 20%, Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips + DIY Foam mod, cable A6 4.4mm): No hiss at all (on all three gain levels) and very good volume control (on medium and low gain). No issues on sensitive BA iems.
K´s Samsara K300 (high-gain, volume around 45%, full foams, stock 4.4mm cable): Better than the P1 but bass is still a bit bloated here and soundstage is smaller than on something with more power. Not recommended on high resistance transducers
Koss KPH30i (low-gain, volume around X, unmodded, stock 3.5mm cable): Very good performance but slightly lacking some bass texture that is present on more powerful sources.
Synergy: Very versatile due to the 3 gain levels. It can handle pretty much everything without much issues except for planars and high resistance transducers.
JDS ATOM: The DH80S is a lot better with iems and earbuds due to it having a lot better volume control (and channel balance at extreme low volumes). But the Atom is better with planars and high resistance transducers. As for the tonality, the Atom is brighter than the DH80S, although both are still leaning towards bright-neutral, the Atom is leaning a lot more towards brightness.
Schiit Asgard 3: Besides the obvious power differences and even better volume control on the A3, the tonality is actually pretty similar, although the DH80S is slightly brighter, giving it a more (very slight) bright-neutral tonality than the neutral A3.
LG G7: The G7 has better volume control but even on the 3.5mm port with the DH80S, the DH80S is slightly better (better bass texture and tighter as well) and more so when comparing the 4.4mm (DH80S) vs the 3.5mm (G7). Tonality wise, the G7 is brighter compared to the DH80S (G7 has similar tonality to the Atom).
Tonality: Slightly bright-neutral and shouldn’t be a problem for most transducers unless they are already borderline too bright for you on a warmer source.
Conclusion: The DH80S is a very good portable DAC/AMP to be used with easier to drive transducers like iems and earbuds, that isn’t too big and bulky to bring around. But won’t be able to drive harder to drive planars or high-impedance transducers.